Until recently, the study of cognition and the neurophysiological basis of human behavior was the subject of quite separate disciplines such as psychology, neurophysiology, cognitive science, computer science, and philosophy, among others. Mental processes were mainly studied in the framework of abstract theories, mathematical models, and disembodied artificial intelligence. It has now become clear that mental processes are strongly entwined with the physical structure of the body and its interaction with the environment.
As such, the study of cognition and intelligence is more and more dependent on the use of physical bodies, and, ultimately, on the use of humanoid robots. The RobotCub humanoid platform represents an opportunity to move this research agenda forward: through open collaboration, on the common theme of embodied cognition, enabled by a shared humanoid platform, and supported by an institute capable of delivering on this vision in the long run.
I will present results on modeling computational processes of the brain in the field of action recognition and speech perception and connect them to the development of the RobotCub project. I will also show various preliminary porting of these ideas on the RobotCub humanoid robot.